Friday, September 20, 2013

Reactions: China/USA- race, gender, age

It has been interesting to see the reactions of people when they see us with Shi Yu. In China there seemed to be 2 main reactions mostly based on race. Naturally, being caucasian in China made us stand out. The Chinese think that any American in China is rich so with all of the flim flam artists we were a great target. People were constantly approaching us a with "best deal" in China. Whether it was tour, renting a car (we could have had a Ferrari lol), housing, trinkets, you name it. Once we had Shi Yu they left us alone (I think it confused them). The Chinese love to see American babies. An adoptive family in our group had there 2 biological children with them and the Chinese adored them, even wanted pictures (every person we saw had an iPhone). People that were walking behind us while we were pushing Shi Yu in a stroller walked quickly past us to see the American baby only to be shocked at seeing an Asian baby. People walking towards us did double takes looking from Shi Yu to us to Shi Yu. I wanted to wear a t shirt that said "yes were American, yes she is Chinese, YES she is ours! So quit looking!" The older people seemed to be much more accepting. At one point when all of or family group and our babies were waiting on the sidewalk, an older woman approached us and asked if she could take our picture. She kept saying "thank you for your kindness, thank you for taking our babies". It was truly from her heart. Dan and I were extremely touched by this. It was so sincere. I wondered if this woman had been one that many years ago was victim to being forced to give up a child.: The newer generations didn't seem quite as accepting. Especially the males. The way things are in China now you can have a second baby but are fined $300000 RMB ($50000 US money). You are also supposed to get permission from the government before you even get pregnant. Our guide told us that this had become more a technicality but it was still something that had to be done. If Dan was walking Shi Yu at a distance from me he got definite stares of disapproval. I kind of understood this though.
   In the USA it seems to be a different reaction. Some based on race but I think more based on age. My age. Although it isn't uncommon to see a 56 year old woman with a 2 year old (the assumption would seem to be it is her granddaughter), seeing a 56 year old woman with an Asian baby seems to puzzle other women. I can see the wheels turning in their heads. Is this her baby? She must be adopted. But that lady seems to old to adopt. What is going in?. Again older women seem more accepting then younger women. Men don't seem to care much. The younger men seem more interested in making Shi Yu smile or laugh. Its pretty cute. I have noticed that it seems more acceptable for an older then usual man to have a young child then it does an older woman.  I have definitely received a few disapproving stares.  It will be interesting to continue down the road of reactions lol.